Helping recovery at Bells Piece | Love The Garden

Helping recovery at Bells Piece

Geoff Hodge's picture
By Geoff Hodge, Botanical Expert (BSc, MCIHort)

Workers at Bells Piece start to use their Miracle-Gro compostWhen we heard that vandals had destroyed a year's worth of harvest at Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Bells Piece in Farnham, we decided to help.

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s leading charity supporting disabled people. The crops had been lovingly planted and nurtured by a group of disabled people and these and their much-loved gardens had been trashed by vandals.

Bells Piece is very proud of its horticulture project and this single act of vandalism had left many of them in tears. More than 30 disabled people are supported there to grow, prepare and cook nutritional meals for a healthy life. It gives them a wonderful sense of ownership and pride and this project has been their lifeline and they get so much out of it.

We did our small bit by donating a pallet of Miracle-Gro All Purpose Enriched Compost to help them grow some new crops.

Using Miracle-Gro compost to pot up new plantsViv Sexton, of the Bells Piece Horticultural Unit, said: "Thank you so much for your generous donation of Miracle-Gro Compost. Compost is used here on a daily basis for almost all of our horticultural tasks, especially seed sowing and potting on, which are activities everyone can participate in. Although the vandalism was upsetting for everyone, the response from companies, such as Scotts Miracle-Gro, has been a very positive outcome."

Ruined & destroyed

Visitors coming to see them are now no longer able to enjoy the yellow sunflowers as they drive into the home — a greeting that has become a tradition. The vandals had snapped off all the heads.

Rhubarb plants were pulled up and thrown around. This valuable produce would have been made into jam, which they sell in the shop to help raise enough money to buy more seeds. The potato harvest, which is a staple ingredient in many of the dishes they cook, had also been ripped out.

A group of disabled people from Bells Piece recently learnt how to make a potato salad with broad beans and grilled courgettes — all of which they had grown themselves. Nurturing a vegetable from seed and then learning how to cook it into a nutritious meal has changed their lives.

This mindless destruction has not only had an immediate effect as much of what they were cultivating would have been used throughout the year. For example, cut flowers would have been used to make Christmas wreaths.

Bells Piece Appeal

But out of this bad situation something good has happened — people from Farnham have donated plants and offered to help.

If you would like to help, they have set up a fundraising appeal to buy a security system that will stop this devastating vandalism happening again. It will also enable them to replace tools and buy new crops and seeds.

  • £5 could buy a replacement rhubarb plant or cut flower plant
  • £15 could buy gardening tools

If they raise £350 they could buy CCTV cameras to help make the garden more secure.

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